S. Korea confirms 30th case of coronavirus

18-Feb-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The government said Monday it had confirmed a new case of the novel coronavirus infection, bringing the total number of affected people to 30.

This and the previous case have raised concern among the health authorities over the spread of the deadly virus, and is likely to lead the government to strengthen its measures to prevent “community transmission.”

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the 30th confirmed patient is the 68-year-old wife of the 29th patient who tested positive Sunday. This patient, 82, had not traveled overseas nor been in contact with anyone infected with the virus.

The 30th patient has been quarantined at Seoul National University Hospital, the same medical institution as her husband, the KCDC said.

The couple had participated in a volunteer programme to provide lunch boxes to elderly people living alone and to local senior citizen centers through regional welfare organisations in Jongno-gu, Seoul, prior to testing positive for 2019-nCoV (COVID-19).

These activities could have put many senior citizens, who are especially vulnerable, at risk of contracting the deadly virus.

Older people have a less efficient immune system and are at greater risk of infection by the virus if they are already suffering from other underlying diseases.

“It is true that he had been participating in the volunteer activity through the regional welfare centre, but this activity stopped because of the temporary closure of the facilities on February 1 to prevent the spread of the virus,” vice Health minister Kim Gang-lip said at a press briefing at the government Complex in Sejong.

Kim said the health authorities were maintaining their highest level of vigilance as the virus is highly contagious even when an infected person shows few symptoms.

Meanwhile, universities here are struggling to deal with Chinese students who were set to return for the March semester, although the Ministry of Education announced measures to prevent the possible spread of the virus on campuses.

In preparation for possible COVID-19 infection, Chung-Ang University has designated one of its two dormitories as exclusive for Chinese students to quarantine them. The period for Chinese students to move in has been set from March 20 to 25, after Korean students move into dormitories from March 14.

“We are also going to set up a thermal imaging camera and thermometer in the dormitory building for Chinese students,” said a Chung-Ang University official.

Kyung Hee University will also designate dormitory buildings exclusively for Chinese students on its Seoul and international campuses. More than 450 Chinese students will be quarantined for two weeks in these two dormitories.

According to the Korean Education Statistics Service, the number of Chinese nationals studying in Korea was 69,287 as of April 2019, or 43.3 percent of 160,165 international students.



Category: Korea

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